Best spots for a stroll in Kiyosumi Shirakawa: All you need to know, from the basics to the latest

The retro-rich vibes of Kiyosumi Shirakawa in eastern Tokyo’s Fukagawa district have recently become a focus for the young crowd. What’s the secret behind the popularity surge?

Kiyosumi Shirakawa, what a town!

Near the Sumida River and crisscrossed with the currents of canals, Kiyosumi Shirakawa once flourished as a base for the lumber industry in the Edo period (1603-1868) and afterwards as a warehouse district. When the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo opened in 1995, galleries gathered round, transforming the neighborhood into a hub of the arts. Then, in 2015, the first Blue Bottle Coffee store landed in Japan here, turning the area into a fierce battleground for coffee houses. The high-ceilinged former warehouse spaces have proven ideal for everything from exhibiting art to roasting coffee beans, and are being renovated and converted into cafes and galleries, breathing a new dynamic energy into the area once again. It’s a special spot for a stroll, with a wealth of greenery as well, including Kiyosumi Gardens, a designated scenic spot of the capital.

Experience life in the Edo period at the Fukagawa Edo Museum

In addition to exhibits relating to the Edo period, this cultural center also has a variety of other attractions including a small theater. In the exhibition room, the streets of Fukagawa are reproduced in life size just as they were at the end of the Edo period. The scenes’ lighting and sound change to reflect the passing of the day for a heightened sense of realism.

©Fukagawa Edo Museum

©Fukagawa Edo Museum
Try to find the cat Mamesuke somewhere in the town. 
©Fukagawa Edo Museum

Business hours 9:30–17:00 (Admission until 16:30)
Regular holiday 2nd and 4th Mondays (If Monday is a national/substitute holiday, the museum will open), temporary closures, New Year holidays

A walk down Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street

Stretching for roughly 800 meters, this shopping street is lined with about 100 shops of all kinds, both old and new. Feel the energy of Japan’s past in the unique character of these famous shops, including those specializing in neighborhood specialties, souvenirs, famous goods of Tokyo and Fukagawa-meshi (rice with soup of clams boiled in miso poured over it, or rice cooked with clams in a soy sauce preparation.).

Fukagawa Shiryokan-dori Shopping Street © Koto City Tourism Association

Tokyo specialty, Fukagawa-meshi
Meet the owner of the souvenir shop Edo Souvenir Takahashi♪


Health conscious sweets at Tutto ♡

This craft vegan gelato specialty shop opened in January 2023.

The variety of treats bring out the best of seasonal fruits and herbs, all made from plant-based ingredients with no milk, eggs, or white sugar. Treat yourself to one of these goodies while you stroll along the waterside.

Business hours 10:00–18:00
Regular holiday Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a national/substitute holiday)

Take it easy at fukadaso

This complex was renovated from a 60-year-old building that once held a warehouse and apartments.

There’s always a line outside the ever popular “fukadaso CAFE” on the 1st floor. A great place for a relaxing afternoon with some simple, subtle sweets amid the nostalgic interior.

Business hours Varies by store
Regular holiday Varies by store

Enjoy art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

This art gallery hosts special exhibitions on modern art while also making the most of its collection of roughly 5,700 pieces that highlight the shifting trends in the world of contemporary art. Another draw is the location overlooking the vast green space of Kiba Park and the extraordinary architectural design that floods the structure with natural light.

Photo:Kenta Hasegawa
Photo:Kenta Hasegawa

Business hours 10:00–18:00 (Admission until 17:30)
Regular holiday Mondays (or the following weekday if Monday is a national/substitute holiday), exhibition renewal period, New Year holidays

Savor the specialty coffee of The Cream of The Crop Coffee

A pioneer in this “coffee town” as the first roastery cafe in Kiyosumi Shirakawa. In the renovated wooden warehouse, a massive roaster fills the space with the intoxicating aroma of coffee.

Original goods stamped with cute puppy logos make great souvenirs.

Business hours 10:00–18:00
Regular holiday Mondays

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The information herein is as of June 2023
Born in Aichi Prefecture, my name is Minami and watching theater is my passion. Having studied abroad in France and the UK, I worked at a travel agency after graduation, which sparked my love of travel both in Japan and abroad! In particular, I enjoy travel related to art galleries, seasonal flowers, or the settings of stories. Whether manga, anime, or 2.5D musicals, please leave it to me!

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